Reading Cup Football: An Amusing Celebration

Trilochan Gautam, Reading, UK 25 September 2019

One sunny morning in the golden glow, at calming horizon, last month on 24th of August, Reading Mayor Councillor Paul Woodward proudly stood in a rather decorated Palmer Park in Reading. He was opening an exciting ‘Reading Cup Football Tournament’ and was accompanied by colleague Mayor Councillor Jagannath Sharma of Colburn. In respect, president of GRNCA Tek Gurung, advisor and Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) senior leader Bishwa Adarsha Pandit, advisor Dhak Gurung, the executive and general members, and other leaders from local organisations of various community, the dedicated players and hundreds of members of public applauded and cheered.

‘Reading cup’ is organised by Greater Reading Nepalese Community Association (GRNCA); a charity organisation established in 2001. Representing a vibrant, dynamic community, to include a number of regular activities, this tournament has been an annual tradition of GRNCA since 2013 which is a main attraction for everyone. Conforming to the mission of the organisation, such an event is aimed to socially mobilise community members including youths while streamlining the integration of this community into the mainstream.

My eyes were picked by the beautiful outlook of the park. The volunteers serving the ground, colourful tents and high, waving flags, a stand-by ambulance and paramedics. As the day advanced and more people gathered, food stalls of typical variety and open markets were set up, some music bands kept entertaining the audience. From young children to the seniors, all seemed enjoying ice cream, food & drinks, the raffle draw and more fun, so adorable!

All jolly to watch the match tuning to the bright, sunny day, the community flocked cheerfully. This comprised of the British Gurkhas Army veterans proudly serving the British sovereign for over 200 years regarded sincere, fierce fighters, as well as professionals of a good number: nurses, doctors, engineers, scientists, technicians and more. An estimated over 6,000 people of Nepalese origin live in Greater Reading area.

Spontaneous participation of a total of 24 teams, some cross-community, comprising 16 youth teams and 8 veterans’ took turn to play. They displayed fantastic skill and sportsmanship as keen football lovers of different age range cheered and applauded.  Everyone seemed grabbing the moment in their own way. I too joined the momentum as I grabbed hands of some of the eager pensioners waiting to come front to tune their dance on the rhythm of Naumati Baza (band of nine traditional musical instruments), which harmonised a real vibe of social celebration, a ‘Mela’ with many more folks being spell-bound!

As the beautiful dusk approached, the closing ceremony was led by Mayor Jagannath Sharma accompanied by Non-Residential Nepali Association UK (NRNA) president Yog Kumar Fagami, special guest Taskeen Ahmed (director of WRAP distribution) who solely sponsored the first prize of the tournament as the coordinator Dhan Rana confirmed. The jubilant winners from youth ‘Team Mongolian Bhanza’ (MBZ) were given away with trophy and the first prize of cash £1600:00 while LG lions won £1000:00 for runner ups. On the veteran side, Brigadier Boys Club (BBC) won £1000:00 for first prize while Himalayan FC £500:00 for runner ups as the general secretary Omkar Adhikari confirmed.

Even the darkening evening did not stop the thrilled winners and the associates as everyone kept cheering and partying at joy. I realised and appreciate, such an event and celebration surely contribute to flourish and nurture personalities, gather social synergy, harmony, sportsmanship, and dynamism as everyone appreciates these living values!

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